Help us provide free COVID-19 antibody tests to schools for staff, students, and parents.
Schools Need to be Safe in Order to Reopen
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, while there is hope as the new vaccine rollouts have begun, there is still a level of uncertainty as to when it will be safe for people to resume their daily lives, including children and teachers returning back to school. Vaccine manufacturing and distribution will likely take some time, and it is still uncertain when wide distribution will happen and when all demographic groups will be protected. So, how do schools consider safely reopening until widespread vaccines are available, and, how do we continue to keep them safe once the initial vaccine has been distributed?
COVID-19 Testing: Current and Future Needs
While the historical reach and spread of the coronavirus is still relatively unknown, mass testing efforts for active infection, as well as antibody testing, continue to be conducted in an effort to fight the pandemic and save lives. Testing today versus one or more years from now will fall into two main categories: active infection and antibody testing.
Currently, for those that are experiencing symptoms and/or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, point-of-care active infection testing provides information on whether someone has contracted the virus. As vaccines are rolled out, active infection testing will still be needed when someone begins to show symptoms of a flu-like virus.
Antibody testing for COVID-19, while largely privately done currently, can help in a number of ways. Since antibodies remain in the bloodstream long after the infection has cleared, antibody testing provides the history of the person. For school, this helps primarily by providing data on how widely the virus has historically circulated amongst children and staff. This data in turn informs the school if it has previously experienced a particularly high risk or not and needs to be extra-cautious or can relax rules.
The Vaccine and Antibody Testing’s Role
In the future, once vaccines are rolled out, antibody tests such as ours will help ascertain that the vaccine has worked properly and that vaccinated individuals have developed antibodies and are protected. As we continue to learn more about how long antibodies keep us protected, current studies show that they can last for around 6 months.
DDTD and Donated Antibody Testing to Schools
Drugs & Diagnostics for Tropical Diseases (DDTD) is a 501(c)(3) San Diego County based nonprofit that focuses on developing ultra-low-cost treatments and diagnostics for diseases that predominantly affect vulnerable populations.
DDTD embraces the idea of eliminating diseases that do not belong in the 21st century. DDTD primarily focuses on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), a group of diseases that afflicts 1 in 6 people, or approximately 1.4 billion individuals worldwide; as well as diseases that affect impoverished populations.
Due to the nature of our organization and its focus on developing diagnostics for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), we are primarily funded through government grants that are specifically earmarked for work on these diseases. Because of our years spent developing tests for NTDs, we have achieved a remarkably sensitive platform and our NTD tests can be more than 10 times more sensitive than comparable devices sold by diagnostic giants.
It was therefore a natural extension for us to customize our platform to the detection of COVID-19 antibodies. True to our mission, we have developed a high-quality, low-cost ($10/test) COVID-19 antibody test that has 90% sensitivity and 100% specificity. This test will be submitted for FDA Emergency Use Authorization in January 2021.
Donated Testing to Schools
We plan to manufacture an initial batch of 100,000 antibody tests, of which 25,000 will be donated to schools. After that, DDTD is committed to donating one test for every two that are purchased, beyond the initial 25,000 tests that will be donated to schools.
How You Can Support Your Schools
Due to the nature of our organization and its focus on developing diagnostics for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), we are primarily funded through government grants that are specifically earmarked for work on these diseases. Because of our years spent developing tests for NTDs, we have achieved a remarkably sensitive platform and our NTD tests are now up to 32 times more sensitive than comparable devices sold by diagnostic giants. It was therefore a natural extension for us to customize our platform to the detection of COVID-19 antibodies.
DDTD has developed a unique opportunity for you to support our organization’s efforts, while at the same time nominating or designating which schools will receive the donated antibody tests.
$25 – Supports 2 tests for schools
$50 – Supports 5 tests to schools
$100 – Supports 10 tests to schools, enables “nominate a school” to receive a donation
$500 – Supports 50 tests to schools, enables “nominate a school” to receive a donation, recognition of your donation through social media and on the DDTD website
$1,000 – Supports 100 tests to schools, enables “designation of a school” to receive a donation (# of tests donated not guaranteed)
$2,500 – Supports 250 tests to schools, enables “designation of a school” to receive a donation (# of tests donated guaranteed)
$5,000 – Supports 500 tests to schools, enables “designation of a school” to receive a donation (# of tests donated guaranteed), arranged testing onsite at DDTD for friends and family (if in the San Diego area)
$10,000 – Supports 1,000 tests to schools, enables “designation of a school” to receive a donation (# of tests donated guaranteed), arranged testing onsite at DDTD for friends and family (if in the San Diego area), and a presentation ceremony with top school staff (socially distanced) with a plaque in your name to be given with the donated tests.
For nominations and designations, schools must be open and willing to receive donated COVID-19 antibody tests. Supporters who give at a level that enables “nominate a school” or “designation of a school” will be contacted directly by one of DDTD’s staff to obtain information on their school of choice.
DDTD will also be opening an online portal where schools will be able to sign up to be considered for a donation from the pool of funding we receive that is not designated to specific schools.
Testing Commercialization and Distribution
COVID-19 antibody test commercialization; which includes manufacturing, production, and distribution, will be highly dependent on the level of funding raised from the Indiegogo campaign. If DDTD can reach our goal of $200,000 by the end of January, we anticipate that we will be able to have tests commercialized and ready for distribution by the end of March 2021.
Distribution of the donated tests will be first focused on the San Diego area, where on-site coordination with schools that are receiving the tests can be managed. DDTD is moving forward with a Phase II of EUA from the FDA for point-of-care distribution, which, once approved, will enable school nurses to do testing directly and not require an onsite member of our staff and/or coordinate of a medium complexity lab. Once we receive EUA for Phase II, we will begin coordinating shipments of tests directly to schools outside of the San Diego area. We anticipate filing in the Spring of 2021, with the goal of getting tests to schools outside of San Diego before the school year starts in the fall of 2021.